This past week saw a number of geopolitical order-shaking events reverberating throughout the world. After the successful Turkish constitutional referendum results gave Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan near-absolute power there, U.S. President Trump called to congratulate him while the European Union member state heads seethed in frustrated rage at Turkey’s de facto decision to abandon their membership drive for the EU. Erdogan added insult to injury by calling Europe a “dilapidated continent.”
Meanwhile, in the Pacific Ocean, tensions of another kind raged as the deteriorating situation between North Korea and the United States escalated to the point that the Chinese warned of possible war on the Korean Peninsula if both sides do not back away from the brink of threats concerning armed conflict. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was in South Korea over the Easter weekend in the beginning of a series of huddles with the American regional allies including South Korea and Japan.
On the European continental election scene, the imminent French first-round Presidential vote saw the four main candidates scrambling to solidify their bases and try to pick off a percentage point or two from increasingly bitter rivals. With two anti-European Union candidates among the leading four finalists, Europe is nervously holding its breath and waiting anxiously for the results of this weekend’s election.
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Turkey Walks Away From 50 Year Goal of EU Membership in Referendum Outcome
Even as the European Union member states were writhing from the controversial referendum victory of the Turkish Constitutional reform vote which promised to give Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dictatorial powers in his country, U.S. President Donald Trump was on the phone calling the Turkish president to congratulate him on his narrow victory in the referendum.
This represented a major change from the attitude that the Turkish leader had been used to from his one-time European allies. The now-strongman ruler of Turkey struck back at furious European leaders, jovially informing a crowd of his loyalist supporters:
“We don’t care about the opinions of ‘Hans’ or ‘George’ or ‘Helga’.” All debates about the constitutional referendum “are now over.”
Naturally this kind of rhetoric from Erdogan only further inflamed the rapidly deteriorating situation between the long-time hopeful EU member-in-waiting Turkey and the leaders of the European block. The various officials throughout the EU decried the gathering of so much power in a single individual’s hands in Turkey even as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe criticized the irregularities in the election on Sunday.
Thanks to numerous ballots which did not bear the official polling center stamp being included, the vote has been regarded dubiously by foreign governments around the continent especially. Erdogan’s camp only won with a slight 51.4 percent lead. The U.S. State Department also cited numerous irregularities noted by monitors of the election.
Tensions in Turkey are running high as the leading three opposition party leaders have all demanded the vote be discarded and re-polled. Tana de Zulueta as Head of Mission for the OSCE stated Monday that the campaign suffered from a significant lack of freedom of expression, that voting conditions were “well short” of accepted international norms, and that some of her election monitors were interfered with so they could not effectively monitor the election process as Turkey had originally invited them to do. European Commission Spokesperson Margaritis Schinas informed Brussels reporters Tuesday that:
“In view of these observers’ reports, the close referendum result, and the far-reaching implications of the constitutional amendments, we call on the Turkish authorities to consider the next steps carefully and seek the broadest possible national consensus in the follow-up to the referendum.”
It is wishful thinking given that the already nearly all-powerful President Erdogan has managed to jail 40,000 of his alleged opponents and remove over 100,000 Turkish civilians who opposed him from their jobs in the civil service. Turkey’s international importance on so many issues, ranging from the War Against ISIS in Syria and Iraq (sometimes called the Third Gulf War), to stemming the immigration crisis into Europe, to their role as G20 developing economy and important NATO member, makes this a dangerous situation to watch closely.
China Warning of Possibility for War on the Korean Peninsula
As if one grim scenario in the world at the moment were not enough, the situation in the critical Korean Peninsula has continued to rapidly escalate to the point that China has now warned that a war is possible between the Koreas and with the United States’ direct involvement. The Chinese opined that this would lead to devastating consequences. This is becoming an increasingly likely scenario as the United States has threatened to militarily retaliate against the North Korean regime if they move forward with their nuclear test.
The world is nervously watching to see if North Korea will really perform their nuclear test or ballistic missile test surrounding the weekend of the 105th birthday anniversary of the rogue dictator Kim Jong Un’s grandfather, North Korean nation and regime founder Kim Il Sung. This is taking place against a backdrop of the United States’ Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to Asia for a “rally the allies” 10 day visit to include South Korea and Japan. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has ominously warned this past weekend:
“The situation now is similar to the time before a storm, and this kind of dangerous situation is worthy of our attention, and we must be alert. Once a war really happens, the result will be nothing but losing all round and no one could become a winner.”
Tensions are high as the United States has moved its powerful USS Carl Vinson Aircraft Carrier Battle Strike Group near the Korean Peninsula in support of a potential military pre-emptive or retaliatory strike on Pyongyang. A North Korean military spokesman has revealed where the international pariah state stands on the subject:
“The Trump administration’s serious military hysteria has reached a dangerous phase which can no longer be overlooked.”
The North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Han Song Ryo told the Associated Press just this past Friday:
“We certainly will not keep our arms crossed in the face of a U.S. pre-emptive strike. We will go to war if they choose.”
The situation is indeed grim as U.S. President Trump has leaned on China to reign in their satellite state North Korea and announced that America will act alone to stop the North Koreans if necessary. Thursday officials from the administration said they are looking into both economic sanctions as well as military operations should North Korea cause a provocation.
The very serious danger is that a potential American military strike could easily lead to war that embroils even China and pits the world’s largest economy against the world’s second largest one. It could also potentially wreck both South Korea and Japan, the two important U.S. allies which are in easy retaliatory striking distance of the vast North Korean armament and arsenal. Clearly China is taking the threat seriously, as they have now followed the lead of the United States threatening North Korea with a show of force by dispatching a significant war force of their own to the peninsular waters in the form of 20 Chinese submarines.
Stratfor warned last year that a potential U.S. missile or bomb strike on North Korea could quickly goad the outlaw regime and state into unleashing a massive artillery and missile barrage against South Korean capital Seoul and suburbs where slightly more than half of the 51 million inhabitants of all South Korea live. After this point, the defense tank states that it North Korea possibly greenlight its significant ballistic missiles, warplanes, and ships to target Japanese, South Korean, and/or American bases found in the Asian regions using biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons.
There has not been such a dangerous tipping point on the Korean Peninsula since 1953 when the Korean War ended in a draw that saw the creation of rivals North Korea and South Korea. The White House has consistently warned that they will keep “all options on the table” in an effort to stop the renegade North Koreans from gaining the capability of reaching the United States mainland with one of their nuclear weapons. This might be a good time to learn how to invest in gold.
Europe Holds Its Breath As France Prepares for Presidential First Round Vote
The French leading four contenders for the office of President of the Republic have been fiercely battling it out this past week and last few days this week before the all-important first round of the presidential election takes place. Nearly a third of the voters still claim to be undecided. Though Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen have held the lead for many weeks now, the next two contenders are all within striking distance of finishing in the top two slots to move forward to the final runoff vote schedule for May 7th.
The most recent poll shows Macron with 24 percent, Le Pen with 23 percent, Fillon at 21 percent, and Melenchon on 18 percent of likely voters. Le pen promises to withdraw from the Euro zone and possibly the entire European Union in the style of the Brexit referendum. Melenchon said he would renegotiate the treaties of the EU block, among them the one that binds France to the euro. This of course could herald the potential breakup of the euro.
This campaign has been called the most unpredictable one the country has witnessed in decades. It is critically important as two of the leading four candidates are anti-European Union institutions. Because of this, the runoff two weeks from this coming weekend will lead to continental-wide implications for not just France, but the entire European Union. So now you know why to invest in gold. There are so many reasons anymore why you should own gold in times of financial crisis.